March 8, 2018

Buckeyes to Face Wolverines in B1G Tourney Semifinals

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March 8, 2018

Big Ten Tournament Semifinal
No. 6 Ohio State vs. No. 11 Michigan 

Game NotesOhio State | Michigan 
Preview Video – Coach Rohlik, Larocque, Weis
Big Ten Tournament Central

Saturday, March 10, 7:30 p.m. | Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
📺 BTN | 💻 📱 BTN2Go | 📻 1460 AM, TuneIn app, Buckeye Vision | 📊 Live Stats  

SETTING THE SCENE

• The No. 6-ranked Ohio State men’s hockey team takes on No. 11 Michigan in a single elimination Big Ten Tournament semifinal game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The Buckeyes (23-8-5, 14-8-2-1 B1G) are the No. 2 seed in the tournament, while the Wolverines (20-13-3, 11-10-3-2) are the No. 3 seed.
• The winner of the game will advance to the Big Ten Tournament championship game, which will be hosted by the highest remaining seed March 17. No. 1 seed Notre Dame, which had a first round bye, hosts No. 4 Penn State, who advanced with a sweep of Minnesota, in the other semifinal Saturday (5:30 p.m., ESPNU). Should Ohio State be the championship game host, the game would be played in Nationwide Arena.
• Ohio State reached the B1G Tournament championship game once, falling to Wisconsin in overtime in the inaugural tourney in 2014. Michigan won the 2016 tournament title in its one championship game appearance. The Buckeyes and Michigan have never met in the Big Ten Tournament.
• Ohio State swept the regular season series vs. the Wolverines, with two wins in Ann Arbor Thanksgiving weekend (3-2, 5-1) and two wins in Columbus Feb. 26-27 (4-0, 5-3).
• Both teams posted sweeps in the quarterfinal round last weekend. Ohio State topped Michigan State (6-2, 4-3 OT) and Michigan beat Wisconsin (6-5, 7-4).
• The Buckeyes enter the weekend on four-game winning and five-game unbeaten streaks and the Wolverines have seven straight wins and an eight-game unbeaten stretch.
• Ohio State is is 8-2-3 all-time in games played in Nationwide Arena, home of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. Two of the games were vs. Michigan – a 6-5 overtime win March 6, 2016 (Ohio State’s last game in the arena) and a 4-3 loss March 2, 2014.

FOLLOW ALONG
• The game will be televised by BTN and available for cable subscribers with BTN as part of their cable package on BTN2Go. Dan Kelly, Ben Clymer and Fred Pletsch will call the action.
• Ohio State radio will carry the game on 1460 AM in Columbus, on the TuneIn app and through Buckeye Vision, with Herb Howenstine and John Mowat on the call.
• Live stats will be available on GameTracker on OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
• Radio, video and live stats links can be found on the men’s hockey schedule and gameday pages on OhioStateBuckeyes.com, with ingame updates on Twitter @OhioState_MHKY as well.

TICKET TALK, PARKING
• Tickets for the semifinal game, $20 for adults and $15 for youth, can be purchased online through Ticketmaster and at the Nationwide Arena and Jerome Schottenstein Center box offices.
• Parking is available in lots and garages around the arena for a fee.
• Ohio State students receive FREE admission with a valid BuckID.
• Fans can present a ticket from one of the three Blue Jackets home games this week (March 6, 8 and/or 9) at the door at Nationwide Arena Saturday to purchase a ticket to the semifinal game for $13.

Heading into Saturday’s Big Ten Tournament single elimination semifinal game vs the Wolverines, Coach Rohlik talked about the matchup and the Buckeyes. #GoBucks pic.twitter.com/SkOr3orQ3R

— Ohio State M Hockey (@OhioState_MHKY) March 8, 2018

BUCKEYE NOTES TO KNOW
• Ohio State is 23-8-5 on the year, the most wins for the program since the 2009 team was 23-15-4. The squad was 21-12-6 last year, giving the squad back-to-back 20+ win seasons for the first time since the Buckeyes had four straight years with 20 or more wins from 2002-05.
• Saturday is the first time this season Ohio State will play a single game on a weekend. The team had 18 two-game series prior to this weekend and was 12-4-2 in the first game of a weekend series.
• The Buckeyes are the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, the first time as a conference tournament’s second seed since the 2005 squad that reached the CCHA Tournament Championship game. The 2017-18 team was picked to finish fifth in the league in the preseason coaches poll.
• Ohio State ranks in the Top 11 in the NCAA on the penalty kill (1st/.906), wins (t-2nd/23), winning percentage (4th/.708), team defense (4th/2.08 goals allowed per game), penalty minutes per game (4th/8.8), power play (8th/.236) and scoring offense (11th/3.22 goals scored per game).
• Three Buckeyes were named Top 3 finalists for Big Ten awards – Tanner Laczynski (Player of the Year), Sean Romeo (Goaltender of the Year) and Steve Rohlik (Coach of the Year). Romeo is also a semifinalist for the Mike Richter national goaltender of the year award.
• When scoring first this season, Ohio State is undefeated (16-0-3). The squad is 7-8-2 when allowing the first tally.
• Junior Mason Jobst has 10 points in his last four games combined, with three points in each game last weekend.
• Jobst and Laczynski share the team point lead with 41 each. Ohio State is one of seven schools in the NCAA – and the only one in the Big Ten – with two players with 40-plus points. This is the third straight year at least one Buckeye has posted 40 or more points. Last season, three Buckeyes (Jobst/55, Nick Schilkey & David Gust/41) all had 40+ points.
• Junior defenseman Sasha Larocque leads the Big Ten overall and is ninth among all NCAA defensemen with a +18 mark. Sophomore blueliner Wyatt Ege, who has six assists in his last four games combined, is +15 on the year to rank fourth (tied) in the Big Ten.

JUST THE STATS
• Ohio State is averaging 3.22 goals a game (ranking 11th in the NCAA) and is allowing 2.08 goals per outing to rank fourth nationally in scoring defense.
• The Buckeye power play is 34-for-144 (.236) on the year, with a power play goal in 13 of the last 17 games. The squad is eighth in the NCAA with the man advantage.
•The penalty kill has stopped 115-of-127 opponent opportunities (.906), ranking first in the NCAA. The squad averages 8.8 penalty minutes per game.
• Ohio State is averaging 32.8 shots on goal a game and allowing 28.4 shots on goal a night.
• Sophomore Tanner Laczynski is first on the squad with 25 assists, Mason Jobst has a team-best 19 goals and the duo is tied for the point lead with 41 each. Matthew Weis is second with 25 assists and third with 36 points, with Jobst third with 22 assists. Laczynski is second with 15 goals, followed by Dakota Joshua with 13, Weis and Freddy Gerard with 11 and Christian Lampasso with 10.
• Sophomore Wyatt Ege leads the Buckeye blueliners with 15 points, followed by classmate Matt Miller with 14, and junior Sasha Larocque has a team-high 65 blocked shots and +18 rating.
• In goal, redshirt junior Sean Romeo has started 32 games and has a 2.08 goals-against average, .925 save percentage and 19-8-5 record. Freshman Tommy Nappier has four starts and six appearances, posting a 1.33 goals-against average and .956 save percentage, with a 4-0-0 mark.

LAST TIME OUT
• Ohio State posted two wins over Michigan State last weekend in a Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal best-of-three series.
Game One (Ohio State 6, Michigan State 2): With points from 13 players and four third period goals, Ohio State won game one, 6-2. The Buckeyes led 1-0 after the first period on a late power play goal from Tanner Laczynski. The Spartans tied the game early in the second period but Ohio State again notched a goal late with the extra man, as Matthew Weis put the Buckeyes up 2-1 at 16:32. Ohio State outscored Michigan State 4-1 in the third, including two goals in the first seven minutes, to pull away for the win. Mason Jobst led the Buckeyes with three points on a goal and two assists, while Laczynski had a goal and a helper for a two-point night and Wyatt Ege and Brendon Kearney both picked up two assists. Sasha Larocque, John Wiitala and Christian Lampasso also scored for Ohio State. The Buckeyes won the special teams battle, going 3-for-5 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
Game Two (Ohio State 4, Michigan State 3 OT): The Buckeyes and Spartans were tied after the first, second and third periods before Ohio State prevailed in overtime, 4-3. Ohio State opened the scoring with a power play goal from Mason Jobst at 11:09 of the first period, but the Spartans responded with a power play goal of their own with 27 seconds left in the stanza to send the teams into intermission tied at one. Each team scored twice in the second, with Michigan State going ahead twice and the Buckeyes answering each time. Jobst and John Wiitala lit the lamp for the Buckeyes in the second. Neither team scored in the third, with Ohio State outshooting the Spartans in the period, 15-6. In overtime, Buckeye junior defenseman Sasha Larocque kept a clearing attempt in at the blueline. He put a shot toward the net and junior Freddy Gerard was able to get his stick on it to redirect it past the Spartan goaltender. Each team was 1-for-2 on the power play and Ohio State outshot the Spartans, 42-18.

BUCKEYES IN THE B1G TOURNEY
• This is the fifth edition of the Big Ten Tournament and Ohio State is 7-4 in B1G tourney play. The Buckeyes have faced every team but Michigan in B1G postseason action.
• This is the first time the Buckeyes are the No. 2 seed. The squad was the third seed last season, the fourth seed in 2014 and ’16 and No. 5 in 2015.
• The first B1G tournament was held March 20-22, 2014, at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn., with Ohio State advancing to the inaugural championship game. The No. 4 seed Buckeyes topped Michigan State, 2-1 in overtime, in the quarterfinals before beating No. 1 Minnesota, 3-1, in the semifinals. Against No. 2 Wisconsin in the championship, the Badgers rallied for a 5-4 win in overtime.
• The 2015 edition of the B1G tournament was played at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Ohio State, the No. 5 seed, posted a 3-1 win over No. 4 Penn State in the quarterfinals before falling to top seed Minnesota in the semifinals, 3-0.
• In 2016 in Saint Paul, Minn., the No. 4 seed Buckeyes downed the No. 5 Spartans in overtime in the quarterfinals, 4-3, before falling to No. 1 seed Minnesota in the quarterfinals, 4-2.
• At Joe Louis Arena in Detroit last year, No. 3 seed Ohio State won 6-3 over No. 6 Michigan State before falling to No. 2 seed Wisconsin, 2-1.

CONFERENCE TOURNEY TALK
• Ohio State has two conference postseason titles, winning Central Collegiate Hockey Association tournaments in 1972 (at St. Louis Arena in St. Louis, Mo.) and 2004 (in Joe Louis Arena in Detroit).
• All-time, Ohio State is 7-16-3 in conference semifinal games – 1-3 in Big Ten play and 6-13-3 in CCHA action.
• At home, the Buckeyes have posted a 25-6-3 mark in playoff games. The team has two postseason wins in Nationwide Arena, sweeping Nebraska-Omaha 4-1 and 3-1 March 14-15, 2003.
• Ohio State is the No. 2 seed for the sixth time in a postseason conference tournament. The last time the team was seeded second was 2005. That squad beat No. 11 Ferris State in three games in the quarterfinals in Value City Arena (4-2, 0-1 OT, 5-4 OT) to advance to The Joe. The Buckeyes then defeated No. 5 Michigan State in the semifinals 4-1 before losing to No. 1 seed Michigan in the championship game, 4-2.
• The prior conference semifinal games in Columbus were total goal series in 1979 vs. Northern Michigan, 1980 vs. Ferris State and 1981 vs. Ferris State. Ohio State was 2-1-3 in those games, advancing to the championship in ’79 and ’81.

IN NATIONWIDE ARENA
• Ohio State is 8-2-3 all-time in games played in Nationwide Arena, home of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets.
• The squad’s last two games in Nationwide Arena were both vs. Michigan – a 6-5 overtime win March 6, 2016 and a 4-3 loss March 2, 2014.
• The Buckeyes first played in the Blue Jackets’ arena in March 2003 when they swept Nebraska-Omaha in the first round of the CCHA playoffs (4-1 March 14, 3-1 March 15).
• The Ohio Hockey Classic holiday tournament was held in Nationwide Arena three times. In the 2004 OHC the Buckeyes had a 5-1 win over Minnesota State Dec. 29 and a 1-1 OT tie with Colorado College Dec. 30, while in the 2005 Ohio Hockey Classic the Buckeyes were 1-0-1, with a 4-0 win over Holy Cross (Dec. 29) and a 1-1 OT tie with Miami Dec. 30. The final Ohio Hockey Classic at Nationwide was Dec. 29-30, 2006, when Ohio State claimed the title with wins over Minnesota Duluth (4-1) and Miami (5-3).
• The squad hosted Denver for a single game in NWA Oct. 16, 2009, a 4-0 Buckeye win and took on Alaska in a two-game CCHA series Nov. 26-27, 2010, skating to a 2-2 tie and 5-2 loss against the Nanooks.

BUCKEYES VS. WOLVERINES
• Ohio State and Michigan met for the first time in 1964 and after games in 1969-70, 1974-75 and 1978-79, have met at least once each season since 1981-82 when Michigan joined Ohio State in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
• The Wolverines lead the all-time series, 81-42-13, including 35-21-6 in Columbus. The Buckeyes are 5-1-1 vs. Michigan in the last five games in Columbus and 8-2-0 in the last 10 games between the teams overall.
• Ohio State won all four regular season games between the teams this year, with 3-2 and 5-1 wins in Ann Arbor Nov. 24-25 and 4-0 and 5-3 victories Jan. 26-27 in Columbus.
• Junior Mason Jobst leads the current Buckeyes with eight goals, 13 assists and 21 points (in 12 games) vs. Michigan. Junior Dakota Joshua has 12 points on six goals and six assists (in 12 games) and senior Matthew Weis has 12 assists and 14 points in a team-high 15 games vs. UM. Junior Freddy Gerard and senior Kevin Miller both have scored five goals vs. the Wolverines.
• Five Buckeyes call Michigan home – juniors Dakota Joshua (Dearborn) and Brendon Kearney (Northville), sophomore Ronnie Hein (Chelsea) and freshmen Grant Gabriele (Brighton) and Michael Rounds (Mt. Pleasant). The five Michigan natives rank second on the squad, behind only the six Ohio natives skating for the Buckeyes this year.

BUCKEYES VS. WOLVERINES IN THE POSTSEASON
• Ohio State is 2-10 all-time against Michigan in the postseason, with all 12 games in CCHA action. Saturday is the first playoff game between the teams in Columbus.
• The squads last met in the postseason in the 2005 CCHA Tournament championship game in Joe Louis Arena, a 4-2 win by the Wolverines. In 2004, the Buckeyes beat Michigan 4-2 for the tournament title at The Joe.
• The teams met in the CCHA semifinals in 1998 (a 4-2 Ohio State win), 1999 (a 3-2 UM victory), 2002 (a 2-1 OT UM win) and 2003 (a 3-0 UM win), with all four games in Detroit.
• The other games were all CCHA quarterfinal series in Ann Arbor, with sweeps by the Wolverines in 1991, 1992 and 1995.

Complete notes in the PDF linked above